GREENIVLLE – The Greenville Lady Wave basketball team capped off senior night with their 13th win closing out the regular season four games above .500 with a 13-9 record defeating the Sidney Lady Yellow Jackets by a 50-37 score.
“They played hard but give credit to Sidney,” said Greenville coach Rachael Kerns. “They didn’t have a whole lot to play for today and they came in and battled. They hit some good shots, some timely shots but we did just enough to do what we had to do to win today.”
A Lady Wave program on the rebound under head coach Rachael Kerns had a 0-23 record the season before Kerns arrived on the scene to take over the girls basketball program. In her first season (2015) of rebuilding, the team went 1-22, was one better in 2016 with a 2-21 record and made good strides in 2017 with a 9-13 regular season mark.
“It is nice that we have developed our program to where it is, to where we might not play a really great offensive game, even defensive game but we’re still able to come out of here with a nice lead,” noted Kerns. “It just goes to show how far we have actually come. I know I say that a lot but it’s just the truth to where we were and where we are now.”
The Lady Wave honored two seniors, Cassie Cromwell and Payton Brandenburg prior the Saturday afternoon home game.
“They have been through it all – they have been through it when we were really rough, not very good at all and we weren’t going to win very many games,” said Coach Kerns of her two seniors. “For them to have 13 wins their senior year with a really good chance to get 14 – I just can’t thank them enough for the tone they have set for our program. The expectation the younger girls have is because of what our seniors have done. The leadership that they both bring is going to be missed tremendously.”
Greenville took advantage of three Jada Garland first period three pointers to take a 17-8 lead after one period of play.
The Lady Jackets battled back in period No. 2 outscoring the home team 14-6 to make a one point game with Greenville taking a slim 23-22 lead at the break.
The Lady Wave was two better in third quarter play by a 10-8 count giving Greenville a 33-30 advantage with one period to play.
Greenville junior Saki Nakamura hit the boards hard while exploding for 10 fourth quarter points including 4-5 at the line to lead the Lady Wave to a 17-7 fourth quarter.
“That’s the Saki that we think we’re going to get,” said Coach Kerns. “We’re just waiting for her to show up, for her to come. It was so nice to see her have a little confidence in her abilities because she sure played like she had all the confidence in the world today.”
“She just played an all-around really good game,” Kerns added. “Defensively she did great but how she rebounded kept this game from getting a lot uglier than it could have been.”
Sophomore floor leader, Morgan Gilbert was perfect at the charity stripe in the fourth for the Lady Wave knocking down an impressive 6-6 at the line.
Nakamura led Greenville and all scorers with a game high 15 points.
Coach Kerns was pleased to talk about her two seniors following the regular season ending win.
“Payton Brandenburg is fun to watch grow, just not as a player but as a person mentally,” said Kerns. “The confidence she now has is incredible from where she was a 14 year old freshman. Defensively this year she gets it. She wants the toughest assignment and she just gets after it, so we are really going to have a big void to fill with her on the defensive end.”
“Cassie Cromwell has had a whole lot of adversity since hurting her knee this summer,” Kerns shared. “She could have easily not played – she could have just gone through the motions. She is the best in practice talking to people and giving high fives especially when she couldn’t play the first half of the year.”
Coach Kerns is quick to give credit to her coaching staff for the strides the team has made over the past few seasons.
“I have fantastic coaches,” said Kerns. (Grade) seven through all the way up to my varsity assistant – just incredible. The team that the coaches; we click, we can get on each other, we can give suggestions and it’s a great combination right now.”
Also bringing a smile to coach Kerns; the ever improving JV program under Lady Wave JV coach Laura Swigart.
“They finished the season with the same record we have right now, so both teams will be 13-9 at the end of the year,” noted Kerns. “It’s a lot of fun to see where we are right now.”
GREENVILLE 50, SIDNEY 37
LADY WAVE – S. NAKAMURA 15, M. Gilbert 11, P. Brandenburg 9, J. Garland 9, H. Mayo 5, L. Shilt 1 – TOTALS 12 14-24 4 50
LADY YELLOW JACKETS – C. Dean 14, A. Kindle 12, E. Wiford 5, K. Johnson 4, S. Reynolds 2 – TOTALS 10 8-14 3 37
Greenville 4 (J. Garland 3, S. Nakamura 1)
Sidney 3 (A. Kendle 2, C. Dean 1)
SCORE by QUARTERS:
17-06-10-17 50 Greenville
08-14-08-07 37 Sidney
PHOTO CAPTION: Greenville’s Saki Nakamura battles for a loose ball in Lady Wave win over Sidney. (Gaylen Blosser photo)